Taken from the September 2015 Newsletter - Part A


Everyone was looking forward to our largest annual outing.  The outing certainly lived up to expectations.  13 rigs and one tent showed up with 25 adults, six kids and five dogs, plus a day visit from Nevin and Lana with Nevin's sister and hubby and their newly-purchased side-by-side Polaris ATV's.  The weather at the 7,000 foot camp elevation was mild for the most part but very windy at times.  The TBSA campsite is on an old dry lake bed which occasionally has a little water in it.  This time we were greeted with a fairly substantial body of water, replete with ducks and shore birds.  The birds would come and go all weekend, seemingly oblivious to their temporary human neighbors.  The campsite really came alive with all the riders, non-riders, children and, of course, dogs.   

There were several rides going out on Friday.  Chas started out leading what he thought would be the more or less standard 58-mile ride to Mount Patterson and beyond.  The riders included Paul, Bill H., Keith, Dan Kelly and his employee Connor, Larry, and Chas.  Dan took over the lead after the beautiful four miles of Desert Creek single-track.  Dan showed us a lot more technical single-track plus lots of challenging two-track.  We had our lunch stop at the usual place at the top of a steep climb at about 10,000 feet.  The wind up here was gale force at 40-50 mph and very cold.  We hunkered down on the windward side of the rock outcropping for shelter during lunch.  After lunch we fought the treacherous wind all the way to Mount Patterson at 11,673 feet.  The wind force up at almost 12,000 feet was almost unrideable.  From here we traveled south for about a mile then turned west and rode basically straight off the back side of Mount Patterson.  The first section was very loose, shaley and butt-puckeringly steep going downhill.  The rate of decline eventually tapered off and turned into another beautiful single-track, ending up at the now really drought stricken Lobdell Lake.  We then rode the upper Desert Creek single-track, then to Jackass Creek, then back to camp.  Bill T. led a rigorous family ride with Kristin, son Billy, Dean Gilliam and his son Cole.  Kristin was riding a KTM 350 EXC recently purchased from Ron Columbo.  The boys were each riding newly-purchased Kawasaki KLR 140's.  Their long ride was going along quite well until Kristin's KTM suddenly stopped running and failed to restart near Rockland Mine close to Pine Grove.  Everyone, minus the KTM, finally made it safely back to camp.  Bill, along with Paul and Bill H., drove his pickup out to retrieve the KTM.  Needless to say, it was a big job extricating the bike.  The guys didn't get back to camp until after dark.

There were a number of rides going out on Saturday.  Chas and Paul decided to spend Saturday recuperating and preparing for the evening potluck.  The potluck turned out great with TBSA supplying three large tri-tips.  Mike and Linda Stewart did a super job with their barbecue service.  Everybody filled in with hot dishes, salads and desserts.

Chas led a large group of riders including Bill T. & Billy, Dean & Cole, Paul, Bill H., Keith and Dan on the main Sunday ride.  After some thought, they decided why not a trip to Bodie.  The Bodie ride can be fairly leisurely and all on dirt two-track.  After visiting the historical sites of Lower and Upper Masonic, Chas decided to take a route other than the traditional Bodie route, i.e. a more scenic route.  After about 20 miles past the Masonic site it became obvious that Chas was leading the group astray, especially when they ended up on the outskirts of Bridgeport!  The main dirt road into Bodie unfortunately was not attainable to the three non-plated bikes; at this point therefore the group backtracked about ten miles to the main Bodie corridor.  At this juncture Bill T., Dean and the two boys, considering their limited fuel supply, decided to head back to camp.  The remaining riders continued on into the historical town of Bodie for lunch.  After lunch, Paul, Bill H. and Keith rode into Bodie for some photos, while Dan and Chas continued 12 miles east to the Aurora turnoff.  After waiting for about 15 minutes, Dan and Chas began retracing their steps searching for the missing riders.  They ran into Paul and Keith about four miles back and learned that Bill H's bike had suddenly become inoperable.  A couple in a pickup fortuitously saw Bill's predicament and offered to drive Bill and the bike back to the Sweetwater camp.  The total ride was 97 miles, about 20 miles longer than necessary.  We all got back to camp in time for the Sunday happy hour (and potluck leftovers a little later).

SWEETWATER OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser, Bill Heinemann, Vicki Hepler

Thursday -


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